Niall Ferguson, professor at Harvard and the London School of Economics, summarized his latest book, Civilization: The West and the Rest for Newsweek magazine’s The Daily Beast by stating that he is not a “declinist” but is instead expecting an imminent collapse of the United States. He wrote: "I really don’t believe the United States ... is in some kind of gradual, inexorable decline.... in my view, civilizations don’t rise…and then gently decline, as inevitably and predictably as the four seasons.... History isn’t one smooth, parabolic curve after another. Its shape is more like an exponentially steepening slope that quite suddenly drops off like a cliff."

As evidence Ferguson points to the lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu, which was built over a hundred years and collapsed in less than ten. He notes that the Roman Empire collapsed in just a few decades in the early fifth century, while the Ming dynasty ended with frightening speed in the mid-17th century.

He tries to explain why the West, and especially and specifically the United States, is set up for a similar collapse through the use of the analogy of what made America great in the first place, computer-based “killer applications” such as competition, the scientific revolution, the rule of law and representative government, modern medicine, the consumer society, and the work ethic.

CNBC reportedly pulled an online poll half an hour after the GOP debate ended on Wednesday night, indicating that “one candidate” was leading by a large margin. That candidate was Ron Paul.  Video reveals that the longtime Texas Congressman was significantly ahead of the others just prior to the poll being removed from CNBC’s website and replaced with an article entitled, “Who won the debate — Attendees weigh in.”

 

“High-profile detainee” and alleged al-Qaeda operative Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri was arraigned Wednesday before a military tribunal in Guantanamo Bay Naval Station in Cuba.  The U.S. government has charged al-Nashiri with war crimes related to his alleged role in the suicide bombing of the USS Cole in 2000, an attack that killed 17 sailors. The defendant is additionally charged with the bombing of a French merchant vessel in 2002, and a planned attack on the American naval warship the USS The Sullivans, also in 2000.
 
Guarded by an escort of American servicemen, al-Nashiri entered the courtroom dressed in his white prison jumpsuit. He was clean-shaven and wearing his hair very short.
 
Sitting at a table flanked by his cohort of defense attorneys, al-Nashiri appeared confident, smiling occasionally and at one point waving to the media and other observers sitting behind a glass barrier.
 
The arraignment of al-Nashiri is historic in that it is the first of such tribunals to be held since the system was created during the George W. Bush administration in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001. The proceeding is especially noteworthy in that not only is it the first military tribunal of a Guantanamo prisoner, but, if convicted, al-Nashiri faces the death penalty.

Rose Marie Belforti, a part-time town clerk for the small town of Ledyard, a rural farming community in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, won her reelection on Tuesday, November 8; however, her struggle is just beginning. The soft-spoken Belforti finds herself on the frontline in the battle between the aggressive same-sex-marriage promoters and those who  uphold traditional values.

As a resident of tiny Smithville, Texas (between Austin and Houston), this past Labor Day I was able to observe firsthand the largest and most horrific wildfire in Texas history (which ravaged the area) and also its aftermath. The event — labeled the Bastrop County Complex fire — once again gave rise to the stories that restore one’s faith in people: Neighbors as well as citizens from states around the nation responded immediately to the plight of victims. Yet at the same time, the intrusion of the U.S. government agency FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), with its bureaucratic regulations, provided a clear lesson on why federal aid is not the answer in such situations.

A lawsuit filed by the state of Massachusetts seeking to overturn the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage for federal purposes as only between a man and a woman, has received the support of a legal brief filed by scores of major corporations. According to LifeSite News, nearly 70 companies signed on to the friend-of-the-court brief filed in Commonwealth of Massachusetts vs. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The companies include Microsoft, Starbucks, Google, NIKE, Levi Strauss and Co., CBS, Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mass., Time Warner Cable, and Xerox. Also adding their influence to the brief, reported Keen News Service, a website focusing on homosexual issues, were nearly a dozen national law firms, seven trade and professional organizations, and the cities of New York and Boston.

LifeSite News reported that the brief “charges that DOMA causes ‘unnecessary cost and administrative complexity’ for employers located in states where same-sex ‘marriage’ is recognized by law. Since same-sex ‘marriage’ is recognized as legal in some states but not recognized by the federal government, employers must contend with a complex tax situation for ‘married’ homosexual couples, the brief says.”

In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that the individual mandate of ObamaCare is constitutional.  Writing for the majority, Senior Judge Laurence Silberman, a Reagan appointee, affirmed that by enacting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, specifically the provision mandating that everyone purchase qualifying health insurance, Congress did not exceed the authority ceded to it by the states in the Constitution.

 

Despite an utter lack of fair coverage in the mainstream media, Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul continues to hold his own in the race for the GOP primary. In fact, Paul may be doing even better than some are aware. According to a survey conducted by Real Clear Politics, Ron Paul is the only other GOP presidential contender besides frontrunner Mitt Romney to have a chance at defeating President Obama in a 2012 presidential race.

 

As with the constitutional struggle that was stirred up by the passage of ObamaCare, the President’s latest pet proposal is brightening the battle lines between friends of federal power and those who advocate the protection of the sovereignty of states. The American Jobs Act contains several key provisions that apparently push the boundary between state and federal power back, expanding Washington’s sphere of authority.
 
 

The November 9 Republican presidential debate in Detroit highlighted the utter economic cluelessness of the overwhelming majority of CNBC hosts and another Rick Perry debate mental lapse.

CNBC host Maria Bartiromo began the debate by claiming, "We will be joined by an all-star lineup of the smartest people on CNBC."

But the debate only proved again why CNBC is the most economically ignorant "financial network." The bad predictions by CNBC hosts during the housing and financial bubble led comedian Jon Stewart to quip on Comedy Central's The Daily Show in 2009, "If I'd only followed CNBC's advice, I'd have a million dollars today... provided I started with 100 million dollars."

CNBC hosts and guests routinely mocked and laughed at sober analysts of the housing bubble, such as EuroPacific Capital's Peter Schiff. Schiff's fans famously put together YouTube videos of analysts mocking Schiff entitled "Peter Schiff was Right," and were able to put together a CNBC-only edition of bad economic advice being given against Schiff's sober analysis during the economic bubble.

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